Facebook is launching a new feature today to help you keep in touch with your local community: Neighborhoods. It’s essentially the social network’s take on dedicated community social network appslike Nextdoor.
You’ll have to be 18 years or older to join, as well as confirm your neighborhood (the app gives you the option of a few nearby locations).
The company gives you the option of adding “interests, favorite places, and a bio” so your neighbors can get to know you. The announcement post also notes you can also take on the role of a ‘socializer’ to start conversations too, whatever that means.
At first glance, it’s hard to see how Neighborhoods is all that different from Facebook groups dedicated to specific areas; much of the functionality appears to be the same. It also lacks some of the specificity that groups have. I use local groups for things like finding stuff people are giving away for free, but I’m not interested in hearing what my neighbor’s politics might be.
Things get further muddled by the fact that Neighborhoods allows you to find existing groups, as well as create new groups that are specifically bound to members that live in a neighborhood (there’s nothing stopping someone from joining multiple traditional groups, for instance).
That said, Neighborhoods does have a few new features, such as the ability to create polls members to vote on their favorite restaurants and locations in the area.
While the feature appears to be clearly ‘inspired’ by apps like NextDoor, I can see it being useful. There are a lot more people on Facebook than on dedicated community apps, and Neighborhoods will theoretically provide tighter integrations with things like events and the like.
Whether anyone actually uses the feature remains to be seen. The feature is launching in Canada first, and “will begin to roll out to select US cities soon.”
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